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John Kerry: Grace under fire?

Watching John Kerry react to the Swift Boat Veterans' attacks has been very educational. One of the best ways to judge someone is to see how they handle themselves in a crisis, and regardless of how you feel about Kerry and the Swifties, it's undeniable that it's been a sore spot for Kerry.

When Kerry first started taking the Swifties seriously, his campaign sent out letters to television and radio stations with veiled threats of lawsuits if they ran the ads. He called on President Bush to denounce the ads. He demanded the Swifties' publisher stop selling their book. Last week he demanded again that Bush stop the ad and filed a formal complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.

There were two things Kerry didn't do, though. First, he didn't directly answer the allegations the Swifties were making. His spokesmen tapdanced around the specifics, evaded the substance of the issues, and gave technically accurate but misleading responses. (My favorite was the statement that the Swifties lacked credibility because "didn't serve on the same boat" with Kerry. The boats had a crew of six, with a single officer, so no officer had ever served on the same boat with Kerry. This argument kinda fell on the wayside when Chicago Tribune Editor and Swift Boat veteran William Rood broke his 35-year silence and spoke out about serving alongside Kerry, on a separate boat.)

Secondly, he didn't release his service and medical records to put the lie to the Swifties' allegations. There is a single form that any veteran can file that authorizes the military to release any and all records from their service (the exact designation escapes me at the moment). Bush signed his a while ago; Kerry has not. (Or perhaps Bush hasn't; see comments below.) The campaign insists they've released everything, but the exact phrasing is that they've "made public all the records they've shown the Boston Globe," which just means they haven't played favorites with any media outlets, regardless of how favorable they've been in the past.

So, let's see: when Kerry suffers an attack, his immediate response is not to confront his attackers, but to run to authority figures and attempt to stifle the attackers while evading the substance of the attack and discrediting his critics.

Funny, I don't recall George Bush threatening Michael Moore with a slander or libel lawsuit for the many thoroughly-proven falsehoods, deceptions, and outright lies behind "Fahrenheit 9/11." I must have missed the press conference where he called for the film's recall, and denounced Moore as an un-American propagandist. And could someone point to me the complaint with the Federal Elections Commission on that movie being used as a fund-raiser and rallying point for the anti-Bush forces?


Update: I don't know how this slipped past me, but it didn't get by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. Inder the terms of the McCain-Feingold Act, it is illegal for a campaign to even attempt to influence a 527 organization. Were Bush to do what Kerry is demanding and attempt to "call off" the Swifties, Bush would be in violation of the law. Kerry is trying to get Bush to break the law, and Bush is rightfully refusing.

Update 2: A hat tip to our fearless leader here at Wizbang, Kevin, who recieved his own little tipoff that on the official message boards of the Kerry/Edwards web site has a discussion thread from the end of June that urges all Kerry supporters to go to MoveOn.Org's web page and help to promote Michael Moore's widely-discredited propapaganda piece, "Fahrenheit 9/11." And since July it has apparently occurred to no one just how flamingly illegal it is for a campaign to essentially pay for a 527 group to push it's own message and recruit volunteers -- note the last posting by "spreadthevote" where he/she is asking for people to "join us" at moveon.org. Hello, Federal Elections Commission? Since you're already looking into 527 groups at Kerry's request...


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Comments (6)

Your claim is that Kerry ha... (Below threshold)

Your claim is that Kerry has not signed the release form while Bush, "signed his a while ago." I agree with you about Kerry, but I don't think Bush ever signed that release form either. I assume we're talking about Standard Form 180, which John O'Neill has recently been calling on Kerry to sign. Bush has done EXACTLY what Kerry has done, release the records that he wanted to release, tell everyone that was all of them, but not sign the form to authorize public release of all his records.


hmmm JoeY you sent me a goo... (Below threshold)

hmmm JoeY you sent me a googling.

It would happen if Senator Kerry were to open his diaries to scrutiny, and match President Bush's disclosure by signing the Standard Form 180 (Bush, as president, did not need to sign the form but simply ordered that access be given; this already has been distorted as Kerry-like in refusal).


Don't know how accurate that is... still looking. Interesting question.

Thanks, Paul. I saw that ar... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Paul. I saw that article too. It strangely asserts that Bush didn't need to sign the form, but simply ordered that access be given. Of course, it provides no documentation that such an order was ever officially given or that such an order would be equal to signing the form. Of course, the article you cite was written by "Christopher C. Horner, a Washington, D.C., attorney who has defended the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on several television and radio programs", so I imagine that it is certainly in his interest to state that these are equivalent, even if they are not.

At least we can both agree that the original post by Jay Tea was incorrect in its assertion that Bush had signed this disclosure form.

I look forward to the fruits of your further research.

Thanks for the update to th... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the update to the main article, Jay Tea. Cheers.


I suspect that the reason K... (Below threshold)

I suspect that the reason Kerry/Edwards believe that Bush/Cheney can control a 527 Group stems from the tight relationship they have with the 527 that have supported them.

From USA Today, 8/23/2004, ... (Below threshold)

From USA Today, 8/23/2004, speaking to whether Bush has done the same thing as Kerry:

"Bush said in a TV interview in February that he would make all his military records available. That month, the White House released more than 400 pages of Bush military records, including some duplicates, and said the documents were a complete catalog of his personnel files.

But some documents still have not been made public. The White House did not release Bush's medical records from his Guard files but allowed a group of reporters who cover the White House to review them for 20 minutes."

As I said before, both campaigns have done exactly the same thing on this issue. It's just that Kerry's lack of total release has heated up recently because of the SBVFT.






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